interviews Martin Roy Hill, author of the military science fiction novella Eden.
Welcome. Please tell us a little something about your novel.
Hill: Eden takes
place in Iraq during
Operation Iraqi Freedom. A massive sandstorm uncovers ancient ruins located
near the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, an
area where researchers now believe the Biblical Garden of Eden was said to be
located. National Guard Captain Adam Cadman, an
archaeologist in civilian life serving as an Army historian in Iraq, leads
a small unit of soldiers to investigate the ruins. Just outside the ruins, they
are ambushed and take refuge within its walls. There they are trapped not only
by the insurgents but by another, even more massive sandstorm that prevents
their rescue. An enemy mortar shell opens a passage to a buried chamber in the
ruins, and the soldiers take refuge inside it only to find an ancient, hidden
secret about the origins of mankind that, if revealed to the world, could end
civilization as we know it.
Is this part of a large series or universe?
Hill: Eden is a
one-off. It's written with what's called the "lost manuscript" or
"false document" technique. The narrator, Captain
trying to unburden himself of the secret he found in the ruins by writing a
monograph he hopes will be read someday in the far future.
What inspired you to write this story?
Hill: I was
reading a newspaper story about archaeologists who claimed to have discovered
the location of the Garden of Eden using satellite imagery. The Bible says Eden was
located near four intersecting rivers. The Tigris and
the Euphrates have
long been thought to be two of those rivers. Using satellite photos of the
area, the researchers discovered the remains of two ancient dry river beds that
intersect the Tigris and
the Euphrates. I
found this interesting because Iraq is
also where the ancient Sumerians established the first true human civilization
and culture. I started thinking to myself, what if some GIs stumbled on to the
remains of Eden? What
would they find? That was the genesis (excuse the pun) of Eden.
Does science and technology play an important role in this story
(or in your work in general), or is it secondary to the story telling and
and technology are secondary to the story and the characters. Eden is
really a study of people, contemporary and ancient, and how they respond to
shocking information. It also asks a lot of questions about what we think we
know about the past and what our future will be.
Do you have plans to expand upon, or write other works based on
Hill: At this
time, I have no plans for a follow-on book. But I never had plans to do a
follow-on book for my first novel, The Killing Depths. Now I'm in the process of writing one. So,
who knows what the future might bring for Eden?
Most authors we encounter write novellas/novels. Do you write
short stories, and if so do you find it a challenge?
I've had several short stories published in magazines and journals over the
years. My first book, Duty, was a collection of previous published and new
short stories wrapped around a military theme. My alternative history short
story, "Hitler Is Coming," was featured on the cover of the latest
issue of Alt Hist, a journal of historical and alternate history fiction.
fiction, I find, is more difficult to write than novels. You have to pack so
much into such a smaller format. Eden began
as a short story, but it continued to grow and I finally decided to make it a
Since time is of the essence for getting a read up to speed in a
short story, do you have a strategy, or preferred method for doing this?
really depends on the story. In some stories, you can start in the middle and
everything before that is told in the back story. But some stories just can't
be told in any other way but linearly, from the beginning to the end.
What advice would you give the aspiring military science fiction
same advice I give to any writer. Write, rewrite, and rewrite again. The art is
not found in the writing, but in the rewriting.
Who is your single-most influential author in science fiction, and
what impact did that have on your own work?
kind of old school. I grew up reading H.G. Wells and I
still enjoy his work. He used science fiction as a form of social commentary,
and I believe that's an important part of science fiction. Robert Heinlein did
I'm something of a historian, I like science fiction that draws on distant
mysteries that come back to haunt the present. For that reason, I'm a great fan
of James Rollins and
his Sigma Force novels. I enjoy Lincoln Child's work, too, for the same reason.
On the other hand, I am also a great fan of Whitley Strieberís UFO
What is the one thing you find the most difficult about writing
military science fiction, or SF in general?
to be original. There's so much sci-fi out in books, movies, and TV, it's hard
to come up with something different. You really have to search for that special
thing to hook the reader.
Is military science fiction the only thing you write, or is there
something else out there we should be looking for?
Hill: I think
my work pretty much spans the spectrum of action genres. My short story
collection, Duty, was comprised of mystery and suspense stories, but also
contained one that crossed over into paranormal and another that was more
Hemingway-ish -- you know, more literary. My first novel, The Killing Depths,
was a military mystery thriller, while my second novel, Empty Places, was a
noir mystery thriller.
Do you have any other projects in the works?
Hill: I have
three projects in the works. I am currently writing a milscifi short story
based on cutting-edge technology I came across in my day job as a military
analyst. And just to stay with the technological aspect of the story, I'm
writing the whole thing on my iPhone. I'm also working on the first draft of a
sequel to The Killing Depths. And I am also in plotting and research stages of
a novel that will be a military thriller blended with some sci-fi.
Do you have any upcoming author events?
now, I am focusing everything on Eden, which
launches on November 15 but is already available for
pre-order on Amazon.
Thank you for your time.
you for this opportunity!